Max Verstappen struck back in the 2023 title race by beating Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez to victory during the 2023 Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix, recovering from ninth on the grid and passing the pole-sitter in the closing stages of an intriguing, strategic race.
Click here to subscribe to our print edition!
Perez had slashed Verstappen’s championship advantage to just six points with a Sprint and Grand Prix double last time out in Azerbaijan, and a topsy-turvy qualifying session at the Miami International Autodrome gave him a golden opportunity to move to the top of the standings.
However, while Perez led the first half of the race on a medium-hard tyre strategy, Verstappen expertly stretched out his initial stint on hards to rise from P9 to P1 – via a series of fine moves – and he emerged just behind his teammate with a fresh set of mediums late on.
With ten laps remaining, Verstappen comfortably cleared Perez to move into a lead he would not relinquish, meaning the Mexican had to settle for the runner-up spot and lose some of the ground he had made up in the title race.
In addition to a statement victory, Verstappen picked up the fastest lap bonus point to top up his tally and the ‘Driver of the Day’ award, with fans suitably impressed by his charge through the field.
With the Red Bulls again in a league of their own, it was left to Fernando Alonso and Aston Martin to claim the ‘best of the rest spot in third, making it four podium finishes in five races for the new partnership.
George Russell was the lead Mercedes in fourth, thanks partly to teammate Lewis Hamilton moving out of his way on a different strategy earlier in the race, getting the better of Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz in the process.
Sainz was hit with a five-second time penalty for speeding in the pits during his swap of tyres, but there was enough of a gap back to Hamilton and teammate Charles Leclerc to keep fifth position at the chequered flag.
Alpine bounced back from their Baku nightmare with a double points finish, Pierre Gasly leading home teammate Esteban Ocon. At the same time, Haas driver Kevin Magnussen rounded out the points-paying positions after his P4 start.
Yuki Tsunoda missed out on another point in his AlphaTauri, having scored in Australia and Azerbaijan, taking P11 ahead of Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll with some defensive driving to the finish line.
Alfa Romeo driver Valtteri Bottas ran inside the points early in the race but dropped back to 13th as the various tyre strategies played out, followed by the Williams of Alex Albon, Haas of Nico Hulkenberg and teammate Zhou Guanyu.
McLaren pair Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri had quiet races en route to 17th and 19th, respectively, having been the only drivers to start on soft tyres. They were split by the other AlphaTauri of Nyck de Vries, with Williams rookie and home favourite Logan Sargeant bringing up the rear after an early pit stop for a new front wing.
In addition to the exciting action on the track, the sell-out crowd was treated to a full day of entertainment at the Miami International Autodrome. There was music from award-winning DJs Tiësto and Cedric Gervais headlining at the Hard Rock Beach Club, and FISHER performed a set to round out the weekend after the podium celebrations. There were also pre-grid performances from bilingual Latin girl group Bella Dose, while the national anthem was sung by chart-topping Puerto Rican singer and songwriter GALE. The pre-race grid ceremonies were a new feature for 2023, with LL COOL J announcing each of the 20 drivers in turn, conducted by will.i.am and attended by the F1 Grid Kids, hailing from the local Miami Gardens community.
Tom Garfinkel, Vice Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium and Managing Partner of Miami Grand Prix:
It has been a fantastic weekend, an incredible race day, and I’m proud of the team who have worked so hard to assemble this year’s event. Thanks to Stephen Ross and the hard work of so many people on our team, we delivered an event that showcased Miami to the world and stayed true to our commitment to improving from Year 1 to Year 2. Our goal is to provide a best-in-class experience for everyone, from the guests enjoying the new Paddock Club to the fans around the Campus soaking up the atmosphere to the teams enjoying their new home on the field of Hard Rock Stadium. We can’t wait to welcome everyone back next year and celebrate another weekend of great racing together.
Mario Isola, Motorsport Director, Pirelli:
The Miami Autodrome race was intense, with Red Bull claiming a fifth consecutive win since the start of the season. Pirelli tyres played an important role in the duel between Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez right from the start, with differing tyre choices from the two teammates: Perez going for the expected medium from pole position while Verstappen, halfway down the grid, opted for the hard. At the chequered flag, Verstappen led Perez home by five seconds, underlining how the range of compounds brought to Miami allowed for different strategies that were relatively close in terms of overall race time.
It’s no coincidence that seven out of 10 teams chose to split the tyre choices between their two drivers. The hard (C2) tyre showed practically no degradation, allowing the drivers to push hard right to the end of long and hard-fought stints. This was ably demonstrated by Verstappen, who did 45 laps on the hard tyre – with plenty of overtaking – before stopping for the medium. The medium tyre also worked well, especially regarding graining, which wasn’t as much of a limiting factor as expected, especially in view of the rain that fell overnight. Fernando Alonso’s long initial stint of 24 laps on this compound, for example, was one of the keys to his fourth podium from five races.
How the race was won from the tyre point of view:
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won his second consecutive Miami Grand Prix, ahead of his teammate Sergio Perez who started from pole. Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso, who had got underway from P2 on the grid, completed the podium. Perez and Alonso started the race on P Zero Yellow medium tyres, swapping them for P Zero White hard on laps 20 and 24, respectively. Verstappen started on the hard and got into the lead before stopping on lap 45. He completed the final 12 laps on the medium, passing his teammate a couple of corners into his out-lap to reclaim the lead.
All the teams adopted a one-stop strategy, but seven split the strategies between their drivers by starting on different compounds. Ferrari and Williams decided to start both their drivers on the mediums. At the same time, McLaren was the only team to take the soft at the start, hoping to make an early stop to comply with the regulation to use two slick compounds during the race.
Williams driver Logan Sargeant completed the most laps on the hard. He put them on during lap two and maintained them all the way to the finish: 54 laps. Alfa Romeo’s Guanyu Zhou completed the most laps (26) on the medium, while McLaren’s Oscar Piastri was the most prolific exponent on the soft for five laps at the start.
Around halfway through the race, all the drivers were on the hard for seven laps. Among the drivers who started the race on the medium and soft, the last driver to make a stop was Alonso on lap 24. The first driver to switch from hard to medium was Zhou on lap 31.
Alonso set the fastest lap on the hard tyre (1m30.519s), while Verstappen set the fastest lap overall with 1m29.708s on the medium. Lando Norris set the best time of the two drivers on the soft: 1m33.869s.
After overnight rain, the weather was cloudy for today’s race, with temperatures that peaked at 30 degrees centigrade, while asphalt temperatures remained between 35 and 43 degrees.
The next round of the Formula 1 World Championship will be the Gran Premio del Made in Italy e dell’Emilia Romagna at Imola from 19 to 21 May: the first European race of the season. The new Alternative Tyre Allocation regulations will be tried during qualifying, with each session running exclusively on hard, medium, and soft. The new Cinturato Blue Full Wet tyres, which do not use tyre blankets, will also debut. The Monaco Grand Prix and Spanish Grand Prix occur the following two weekends.
2023 Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix Race Results
|1.||1||Max Verstappen||Netherlands||Red Bull Racing Honda||1:27:38.241||26||93|
|2.||11||Sergio Perez||Mexico||Red Bull Racing Honda||+5.384s||18||87|
|3.||14||Fernando Alonso||Spain||Alpine F1 Team||+26.305s||15||60|
|4.||63||George Russell||Great Britain||Mercedes-AMG Petronas||+33.229s||12||28|
|5.||55||Carlos Sainz||Spain||Scuderia Ferrari||+42.511s||10||34|
|6.||44||Lewis Hamilton||Great Britain||Mercedes-AMG Petronas||+51.249s||8||48|
|7.||16||Charles Leclerc||Monaco||Scuderia Ferrari||+52.988s||6||28|
|8.||10||Pierre Gasly||France||Alpine F1 Team||+55.670s||4||2|
|9.||31||Esteban Ocon||France||Alpine F1 Team||+58.123s||2||4|
|10.||20||Kevin Magnussen||Denmark||Haas F1 Team||+62.945s||1||1|
|11.||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Japan||Scuderia AlphaTauri||+64.309s||0||2|
|12.||18||Lance Stroll||Canada||Aston Martin F1 Team||+64.754s||0||27|
|13.||77||Valtteri Bottas||Finland||Alfa Romeo F1 Team||+71.637s||0||4|
|14.||45||Alexander Albon||Thailand||Williams Racing||+72.861s||0||1|
|15.||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Germany||Haas F1 Team||+74.950s||0||6|
|16.||24||Zhou Guanyu||China||Alfa Romeo F1 Team||+78.440s||0||2|
|17.||4||Lando Norris||Great Britain||Mclaren Racing||+87.717s||0||10|
|18.||21||Nyck De Vries||Netherlands||Scuderia AlphaTauri||+88.949s||0||0|
|11.||81||Oscar Piastri||Australia||McLaren Racing||+1 lap||0||4|
|16.||2||Logan Sargeant||USA||Williams Racing||+1 lap||0||0|
2023 Constructor Standings
|1.||Red Bull Racing||860|
|2.||Mercedes-AMG F1 Team||409|
|5.||Aston Martin F1 Team||280|
|6.||Alpine F1 Team||120|
|8.||Alfa Romeo Racing||16|
|10.||Haas F1 Team||12|